Thursday, August 10, 2017

Blue & Gold: Birds of midsummer

As July gives way to August, the morning chorus diminishes in the grasslands and woodlands of northeastern Illinois. The prairies take on an increasingly golden hue. This is the prairie pothole at nearby Nelson Lake preserve in Batavia:

Nelson Lake pothole 20170721 Common Yellowthroats are still tending to nests and singing, usually out of sight in the high vegetation:

Common Yellowthroat 06-20170727

Common Yellowthroat 04-20170727

The songs of orioles and Rose-breasted Grosbeaks no longer ring through the treetops. Many bird species are busy with the affairs of raising families. Energy must be conserved and diverted into replacement of feathers during the post-breeding molt.

Indigo Buntings continue to sing from treetop perches:

Indigo Bunting 01-20170711

Indigo Bunting 04-20170629

Indigo Bunting HDR 01-20160512

 Indigo Bunting 01-20170629

 We visited Lippold Park, also in Batavia. This is the small marsh and pond, with the pavilion and fenced treetop walk in the background. (Mary Lou just received a phone call):

Lippold Park pavillion 20170728

The prairie at Lippold is protected and well-managed. It was alive with wildflowers:

Lippold Park prairie sign 20170728

Lippold Park wildflowers 20170728

American Goldfinches are very late breeders and are only beginning to gather flower down for their nests. I waited patiently for one to alight among the flowers, but instead they moved among the low shrubs:

American Goldfinches 01-20170728

American Goldfinch 08-20170728

American Goldfinch 04-20170728

American Goldfinch mirrorless 01-20170715

Two years ago in late August I did catch one singing among the flowers at this same location:

American Goldfinch singing 20150826

The plumage of an adult female American Goldfinch is more subdued:

 American Goldfinch 20140918

Bells and whistles... go together like a goldfinch and thistles. Common as they are on the prairie, I never tire of seeing, hearing and photographing goldfinches around and above me. 

August through September is their peak season, as the thistle begins to go to seed, providing them both food and shelter. Other birds have nearly finished their breeding and are hiding away to molt, but the goldfinches are eating the seeds and gathering the down of the thistles for their nests. 

 At Lippold park on August 25, 2011, a female goldfinch was harvesting down for her nest:

 American Goldfinch with thistle down 2-20110825

This male was collecting thistle down at Nelson Lake back in 2011:

American Goldfinch and thistles 20110707

One of the few bird species to feed their young no insects, they engorge the thistle seeds and nourish their young with a protein-rich "milk" that is secreted from their stomach linings. A fledgling goldfinch appears bigger than its mother as it begs to be fed:

 Baby Goldfinch wants Milk 2-20100815

One of my favorite goldfinch captures is this one, reflected in the creek at Lippold Park:

American Goldfinch HDR 04-20160505

= = =  = = =  = = = =  = = = = =

Linking to Misty's  CAMERA CRITTERS,

Linking to Eileen's SATURDAY'S CRITTERS,


Linking to SKYWATCH FRIDAY by Yogi, Sylvia and Sandy


Linking to BirdD'Pot by Anni

Linking to Wild Bird Wednesday by Stewart

Linking to Wordless Wednesday (on Tuesday) by NC Sue

Linking to ALL SEASONS by Jesh


Please visit the links to all these memes to see some excellent photos on display



  1. awwww...wish we had gold finches around here

  2. An absolutely gorgeous series of photos, Kenneth!

  3. omg wonderful natuire love from Europe

  4. Wonderful series of photos of nature ~ love the baby bird wanting to be fed and the wild flowers ~ what a place ~ ^_^

  5. Beautiful birds, especially the Goldfinches!

  6. Glorious goldfinch photos! Love all the wildflowers, too. Great post!

  7. What wonderful bird pictures! Kudos!

  8. Loved the goldfinch which we do see here in Oregon -- but I did not know all that information ... wonderful to learn.

    I've seen the indigo buntings only a few times and will never forget the first (on Texas Gulf Coast) ....especially loved the one with spread wings . Beautiful walk , beautiful place.

  9. You show us shots of a different world, where these beautiful creatures are. Thank you!

  10. wow...fantastic photos of the goldfinches!

  11. Wonderful photos, Kenneth! We had a flock of goldfinches in the yard this spring... maybe 15-25 of them for a couple of weeks... beautiful, but so hard to capture in a photo... they are fast and nervous. Your shots of them are amazing. :)

  12. Hello, beautiful series of bird images. I love the Goldfinches and the Indigo Bunting. Pretty shots of the warbler. Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Happy Saturday, enjoy your weekend!

  13. Great photos as usual. The bottom two.

    I lived in Texas for just under four years. It's a great place except for the hot weather that last for most of the year. :-)

  14. Your blog is always a treasure to view! I love coming here. Thanks so much for stopping by I'd Rather B Birdin' and linking in for us to come visit with you!!! Love the goldfinches most of all....

  15. Stunning blue...and gold! Really wonderful photos! I just love the one of the goldfinch drinking.

  16. I so love the last two shots! But all are wonderful.

  17. You certainly captured some bright yellows and indigo. I think the bunting about to take off is my favorite. I knew someone from Batavia and didn't realize you had such a nice selection of marshes and parks. Fantastic shot of the finch taking a drink in the clear water.

  18. As always a stunning post for All Seasons - thanks you much Ken! Interesting that the goldfinch does not need insects for to be nurtured:) The blue bird is my favorite - it makes me love the color blue even more! Have an awesome week!

  19. What a wonderful set of birds - I think I would be a regular visitor there!

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

  20. Hello Ken!:) Beautiful Indigo Bunting, and American Goldfinch captures.

  21. It's a thrill to visit your blog and see your captures. Love the bunting and the goldfinch reflection pic. Keep sharing those stunning pictures with us.

  22. Beautiful and amazing photos! So colorful!

  23. Magnifiques ces oiseaux jaunes ;-)
    CĂ©line & Philippe


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